Series Editor - Jim Bennett for The Poetry Kit - www.poetrykit.org

For submissions for this series of Featured Poets please see instruction in afterword at the foot of this mail.



Come out and see the hibiscus brazing

pigeon necklaces burnished with maize

brass bells tinkling off glittering leaves

yellow sequined arches in the village square


                 from Cast in Bronze by Ruth Hill 






Pas de Deux


Cast in Bronze

Climb in Me

Bloomin’ Sunshine

Harbour of Rainbows


Questions without Answers

Words Become Me

Letting Down the Milk




1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Ruth Hill


“Ruth Hill was raised in upstate New York, and traveled North America extensively. She spent 5 years living entirely off the grid, sailing the west coast of British Columbia. Ms. Hill became a Light Station Keeper, a Logging Appraiser, and a Certified Design Engineer. Over 330 of her works have received awards or publication in the US, UK, Canada, Israel, Australia, and online. She has won 1st prizes in Gulf Coast Ethnic & Jazz Poetry, Heart Poetry, Lucidity, Poets for Human Rights (twice!), and Writers Rising Up! environmental poetry. Ruth is a lifelong tutor and enjoys spoken word.”















I always wondered about the origins of ballet,

until I saw two yearlings tip-toeing thru fresh snow

on a muddy path: glissade dessus.

They lifted and shook their feet at every step:

battement frappé.

Their big white tails were fluffed out behind them.

Passing elegantly, delicately, in a pas de deux,

they seemed to bow to each other.

Looking back at me, epaulement, adagio, swaying.

After napping, these nurslings used to leap, jete,

dance en pointe, and paw the air, playing,

Cecchetti fourth en haut.

I thought I saw a Degas pose,

back leg straight forward, toes pointed, pointe tendu,

bending at the waist, cambré,

sinking down on the front leg, fondu,

cheek brushing ankle.

The snow made a shushing sound,

as they walked sadly into winter.

For a moment, just for a moment,

I thought I saw…

their arms around each other.





Flying buttress limbs lift leaded frames;

stained-glass rosettes are backlit by the moon.

Rainbow ghosts of saints emerge,

floating through a radiant clerestory.

Silver icons, mosaics of mystics,

sparkle on spruce bark scales.

Forest incense rises in the mist.


Wolves’ hunting trumpets, owl’s bassoon,

thumping hooves and cracking sticks,

echo through the vaults.

Above, dippers and bats click insects,

wings pumping air, ceaseless scurrying.

Light and hunger prevent sleep,

a hollow tree becomes some grizzly’s apse.


Thirsty soul, I kneel at a font,

rivulet of ozone, slowly moving mud.

Holy water, be my smudge and clay.


The Vanishing Point shows me a door to the lake.

Glittering ripples beckon on a marble altar.

I shall enjoy that sacrament later.


In these woods, the thrush is shrill:

he becomes my bell tower;

pointed spires my rhenish helms.

Underfoot sarcophagus of fallen trees

pours lilies from its sepulcher.

All stones have rolled away.


Here, I drop my worldly vestments,

open wounds for needed healing,

find again the peaceful singing;

refuge nurtures om-home homme.


Communion may occur at any time.

You cannot follow or lead me here.

Name too sacred to be spoken.

Form too glorious to be seen.                                            

Here is the atrium, nave and bema,                                   

entrance, center, transmutation;                                         

temple-self, dreams and reason.                                       

Under this fleche: organ, quire.





Afternoon storms

having opened their black velvet pouches

and thrown down their burden of diamonds

often give way to evenings of magnificent bronze


Come out and see the hibiscus brazing

pigeon necklaces burnished with maize

brass bells tinkling off glittering leaves

yellow sequined arches in the village square


Newborn bees share our view through topaz honey

hive’s hum a kazoo, dripping raindrops a xylophone

amber windows everywhere


Rocks and roads and trees all trimmed in tortoiseshell

are strewn with chestnuts and chrysoberyl


Citrine evening with soap bubbles in the air

mist of bronze others see as not there

freckles on thrush, blush on the pear


This evening’s warm respite of joy is made brief

by a cool longitudinal shadow

The setting sun tugs an ancient shade tassel

as the dusky grey-mauve descends


Like well-oiled athletes, golden hills flex their muscles

A single robin’s silver flute calls the universe to order





Climb in me, wet dripping salt sea spray,

Helly Hanson dark green rubber rubbing

gunwales and corduroy wales and whales you see.

Climb in me, and sail.

This handsome transom ransomed me…

this rainstorm, hailstorm, sleet storm warm,

this rising high and dipping down away.

Sway, play to the ridges and the runnels, 

where the water drops out from under you,

and you feel the elevator plunge,

then God’s hand lunges ya up again.

Hold fast to the mast, straddle the cradle

of ship’s ribs flexing, breathing,

swaddle of sail spiral tied on boom yard,

hard over to spill the windy sea,

lest we be tossed and lost, you and me.

Climb in me, taste the salty tears invisible

in the rain and plainly overdue, as you

realize this could be your last ride,

but for your boast the Holy Ghost

is sitting in the crow’s nest,

the best guide to ride with.

Climb in me, look through lashes

holding drops with prisms in ’m,

so this dark green scene with fog screen seems

filled with rainbows, rain ranting on your pontoons,

pantaloons, and side-washing spittoons.

Climb in me, and hear the wind screaming,

seeming to tear the seaming, where you need

the wind to hold, to steer near the shore, where more

waves wash higher, deeper, sharper, steeper,

and you must cross them, the most dangerous,

before you get to tore and gore lore. You swore

you’d never come back again, but here you are,

wind-whipped hair and wide-eyed stare,

speed, exposure, indeed composure, greed, pure.

Grab the sheets, hock the chocks in shock

and swing, wing high on that storm in the sky, the sea.

Climb in me and see…sailwail...                                                             




            … mountain buttercups


Open, bowl of buttercup

delicate golden moth wings

pollen pushed out

powder your face

rub some bee’s thighs

Stamen men semen



stuck on any passerby

like a yellow butterfly

I’ll bet your microbes know

which pollen is yours, don’t touch,

which is another’s, and such

Point the steed

anoint the seed

Ovules ovulate and wait

Anther antler antennae

hypnotizing him

bringing him in

Petal sepal lapels

Stem waving noddy-body

that let you open

in such a wind


Open, my soul

and create gold

create love




…Buddhist esho funi: the oneness of self and environment


I am a fog-breather

While others complain, confined to the logs

            I welcome fog’s mystery and magic

            its hazy grey promise of a lazy day                        

Clamor calms; activities acquiesce haplessly

            Feathered feeding frenzies cease             

            Competing captains tie up together for tea

A pleasant suffocation of sight and sound

            wraps all in a blurred blanket, slurred banquet

            shhh, shhh, mottled and mute

Sound in fog has an intermittent code

            a ship’s bell, docking yaws

            like the dot-dash-pause of telegraph jaws

            I hear a tin tub tap; ripples lap a hull

            The gull’s cry becomes dull

            A distant Lister Diesel sounds close by: a pull-cord try

            A cranky old crank from 500 meters

            teeters on the wind, wound ʼround

Language languishes, then strangely perishes

As I move, sundogs and sundials move with me

            smoke and mirrors, images, mirages

A Ghost sneaks up the coast, drapes tulle veils on tall trees

            and in the vale, trails a princess bridal train

A white-faced Geisha opens her fan of sunrays

            thru Heaven’s pearly ceiling

Light signals a Paul Signac Pointillism

            I am suddenly in his painting of the Antibes

            His harbor shimmers in rainbows

            Kaleidoscope colors collide           

Living here among the clouds, I feel I am floating

            I am once again in Grandmother’s

            goose down duvet

Each drop of fog holds a prism, refracting the way home

Fog’s chill is drawn to dawn; evening it will evanesce

But for a few hours, for a few mornings

            I relish its presence, its friendship

            the way it erases all boundaries

This scarcity of clarity may be a clearer way of thinking

            The mystical mist forms a mime’s white hands

            swirling all things into esho funi

Fog infuses the forest with respiration and restoration

            slurry dripping off leaves like rain, tears dropping pain

I too am a fog-breather




            …dedicated to the memory of Marie Colvin,

            the British journalist slain in Syria.


I used to ride on camel back

sliding off the hump on bony spine.

I used to ride the Spice Road caravan,

load and unload day and night,

sleep in Bedouin tents,

wrap my head and neck

from blowing sand and searing heat.         

It took a year to get from there to here,

another year from Gobi to Kobe.

A woman from Leningrad once waited 8 years

for a train from Siberia

to say if her husband were dead.

The train never said.

At the stoning of St. Steven,

a man’s coat once served as a witness.

Comme ci, comme ça; some see, some say.

I used to ride a poor donkey

like my mother rode.

I used to ride a rickshaw when paid,

walk a lot when not,  

through monsoon mud and driest dirt.

I trotted on small ponies yurt to yurt.

I learned to write by coal oil light.

Under the Aurora, I mushed

a dogsled past Inukshuk signs.

I was a Shanty man among the mines.

As a chap, I used to wrap

my arms around lampposts

to sell the chews and yell the news.

Once I had a box camera, once an Instamatic.

In 1914 I used a telegraph

to say Franz Ferdinand was dead.

But now the printing press falls silent.

I fly to satellites in the sky,

and spread the news

with my cell phone camera eye.



QUESTIONS WITHOUT ANSWERS                     


Is it good to have moonlight on snow?

It is my love, great love,

            that kisses my grandmother’s thin white hair.


Is it sweet to have foam on the sea?

It is love, great love,

            that whispers you to me.


How shall I tell you a story?

Once I sang you lullabies

            and you don’t remember.

Any story I might say is not real to you;

you are in your own story now, not sleeping.


Is it not a tinkling xylophone?

Many prophets have slept by a brook,

            but a slowly moving river has its own song,

            deep and dark,

keen the knell of undercurrent.


Mind if I move in with you?

Under your blanket, under the bridge?

It is sparse, when your only home is the homeless.


Following the lost is easier

than losing those

who used to follow you.





“In the beginning was the word,

and the word was made flesh...”

It does not say the flesh moaned,

and became words.

So I am thinking,

maybe the song became the wren,

not the wren became the song,

passive participant, feather-shaking.

The squeaky-hinged hee-haw

of the stocky-haired, peg-legged

burden bearers

carried Mary to Bethlehem,

Jesus to Jerusalem,

walking on water, calming the storm,

walking on soft palms,

walking on air, bearing us there.


And our words,

with all their sorrow and depression,

shape our future from our past.

How seldom we speak

lofty words that last.


Will my words vary from reality,

or reality vary from my words?


I was a baby cooing.

I was a child’s jump rope song.

I was a mother cooing to her baby,

a soothing gramma before long.


Out of a plywood Kentucky spire

seeps a Gaither gospel song:

“beautiful words, wonderful words…”

I will become wonderful words again.


I am a strong grey-haired donkey.

I am a branch-tipped singing wren.

My words shall reform my conscience.

I shall add wisdom to the political discourse.


My morning prayers shall become my reality.

I will seek and find lovely words to say.



Letting Down the Milk


Dreams come to me the way a cow lets down her milk

She just relaxes and the milk starts flowing

I lean on her warm brown rump

slide the bucket under her udder

holding it up off the floor

because I know she will lift her foot

to step in the bucket

She raises her hoof and I adjust politely

Her hips are like two stilts

with a hammock slung between

Shifting her weight from one to another

she lumbers like slumber toward me

Lowing like a purring kitten, sidling up close and warm

like I am her calf and she wants to show me love

like me, like all mothers

I sit on the bench at the side of the stanchion

— a stool would not work in this large calving pen —

I remember being tucked into her soft flank

listening to the milk veins gurgling, working their miracles                                  

Anyone who has never owned a milk cow might not understand

How could I not believe in God?


Now I sit on the edge of my bed

It reminds me of the stanchion seat and Matilda

I relax and let down my sleep

I don’t even remember lying down before the dreams started

—Someone is in the bathroom; voices echo down the hall

A high school boyfriend who is engaged

slips me one last hug to say goodbye

Another date is due at eight but I am ready at seven

I phone him to make sure he is coming

He says something stupid and hangs up

My mother is in the kitchen, her prison for 30 years

My father is smoking in his orange paisley wing chair

There is a bicycle, and on TV, canned laughter—

All of my dreams are like letting down the milk

I feel sweet memories flowing down over me

The day’s blessings fill the whole room


When I die, I want to die in my sleep like this

bathing in Matilda’s love

dreaming of memories and friends

relaxing, letting down the milk






“PAS DE DEUX” Special Commendation Little Red Tree 2010 Anthology, Editor Michael Linnard; Song of the San Joaquin Winter 2011; PoetryMagazine.com  July 2015, Editor Mary Elizabeth Barnet; FreeXpresSion Australia October 2016, Editor Catherine Lee.

“AMBULATORY” Grandmother Earth #19 2012;  Little Red Tree 2012 Anthology, Editor

Michael Linnard; Langley Land Preservation Han Shan Poetry Project 2012, Editor Susan McCaslin; FreeXpresSion Australia October 2016, Editor Catherine Lee.

“CAST IN BRONZE” Rose & Thorn Journal  May 2012, Editor Cynthia Toups; Silver Bow Publishing December 2013 Editor Cathy Gunn; PoetryMagazine.com July 2015, Editor Mary Elizabeth Barnet; FreeXpresSion Australia October 2016, Editor Catherine Lee.

“CLIMB IN ME” Honourable Mention New Millennium Writings Winter 2010, Editor Don Williams.

“BLOOMIN’ SUNSHINE” Special Commendation First Writer Competition, Judge J. Paul Dyson; Special Commendation Little Red Tree 2010 Anthology, Editor Michael Linnard.

“HARBOR OF RAINBOWS” City Works Journal San Diego Spring 2017, Editor Nadia Mandilawi.

“iPATCH” Cyclamens & Swords April 2012, Editors Johnmichael Simon and Helen Bar Lev.

“QUESTIONS WITHOUT ANSWERS” Perfume River #4 June 2016, Editor Vuong Quoc Vu;

Voices Israel Anthology 2017, Editor John Simon.

“WORDS BECOME ME” Heart Poetry Journal/Nostalgia Press June 2013, 1ST Prize $500, Editor Connie Martin, Judge Veronica Hallissey; Honourable Mention New Millennium Writings

Spring 2015, Judged by Don Williams & Alexis Williams Carr.



4 - Afterword

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